Introducing Unofficial FontForge Windows Binaries

I have recently been working on creating a font using FontForge, an open source font editor. Unfortunately, using FontForge on Windows is somewhat spotty, since it needs an X Server to run and is only officially distributed in source code form. While prior Windows builds exist, they are neither up-to-date nor user friendly. This prior work did, however, provide a good starting point for creating a new build (with the help of Google Translate and the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine).

After downloading the development package and following the directions, I was eventually able to reproduce the older build it was designed for. Next, I updated the build environment, scripts, and patches to the latest versions and was able to produce a new build.

I had now addressed the issue of currency, but still had the problem of user friendliness. In its current state, the package could not be installed, was launched via a batch file, had no icon, and presented a visible X Server to the user. First, I addressed the issue of the batch file by writing a small program that runs without a window and runs the batch file without opening a command window. Next, I adjusted the settings used to start the X Server, so it would not be visible. Then was the icon issue. Using the Oxygen Project‘s FontForge icon and my prior work on Hugin‘s file and installer icons, I created icons and added them the the launch program I had just written. Finally, I created an installer based on Hugin’s installer.

In the end, I had an up-to-date version of FontForge that could be installed and run just like any other piece of software without any of the complexities exposed to the end user. With both issues resolved, I set about documenting and sharing my work. See the results for yourself: FontForge-Windows.

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One Response to Introducing Unofficial FontForge Windows Binaries

  1. Thank you so much for doing this. I’m taking a typography class at a local university, and this program is so helpful! The comparable programs that have the features that this program have are prohibitively expensive for me to afford. Thank you so much for taking your time and skill to figure out how to do this!

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